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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques (2nd Edition) Paperback – June 8, 2006
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“Shows you how to expand your imagination.” --Newsweek
“A special find. Period.” --Executive Edge
“A must-have book in any business setting.” --Women in Business
From the Publisher
This new edition contains updated examples, three new Thinkertoys and an entirely new group brainstorming section with five new chapters. Michael is also the author of Thinkpak (A Brainstorming Card Set), which is a novel creative-thinking tool that is designed to facilitate brainstorming sessions and Cracking Creativity (The Secrets of Creative Geniuses) which describes the common thinking strategies creative geniuses have used in the sciences, art, and industry throughout history and shows how we can apply them to become more creative in our business and personal lives.
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With that said, this book won't tell you everything you need to know about creativity. A lot of people want a "quick fix" or "on/off switch" for creativity; while this book will provide you with techniques that you can start using quickly, I do not believe that this book will provide an instant fix. I recommend combining this book with "The Accidental Creative" by Todd Henry, which focuses on the kinds of systems and practices you need to have in place in order to be sustainably creative.
My one complaint about this book is that at points it assumes that you already know which problem to work on. For example, if you're starting with a question like "what can we do to increase sales?" this book will give you techniques to help you with that. If you're looking for answers to a less specific question like "what new products can we develop this year?" or "which research problem should I work on?" this book isn't quite as helpful. It also focus more on business than on math, science, or technology.
Stuck on something that bugs you? There's an exercise for that with questions you can ask. The techniques are explained and he gives examples of where and how to apply them along with a history of who invented it or most utilizes it. Edison, the CIA, and more. Most of all the author encourages YOU to come up with your own unique approach. This is a fun addictive book and I've been going through it every day since I have received it and recommend it precisely because it does what it says. This book is a toy for thinking! I like Tick Tock, Idea Quota, Getting Tone, Brainbanks, Scamper, Lotus Blossom and Phoenix as useful techniques. They're all good when you get down to it. They sound weird and you'll be scratching your head but when you open the book you'll be more interested in the next idea generating technique than you were with the previous technique. If you are afraid of getting a migraine don't be! I swear you can understand all of the exercises and you will enjoy yourself. This is a fun exercise book for your brain and I bet you can get your friends and family members to join you too.
If you have a goal or want one as a reason to purchase this book then it's the opportunity to become what you study and ultimately do. He does make references as to how artists become artists and idea people become those people who come up with all those great ideas. The become what they want to be because they are relentlessly pursuing and practicing the work they are passionate about. There is no need for inspiration when you are using the techniques.
Best of luck to all who utilize the techniques in this book. Then again if you're doing something different and experimenting in order to do what you want to do you are already on your way to success. I'm enjoying myself and have a lot of fun ideas to explore because of this underrated book and I hope you all find it as fun to explore as I do. Happy experimentation! ;-D
I have been an educator for the past 12 years, working with middle school, high school, and college level students. One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of critical and creative thinking that is fostered in the schools. Although these may be the most important skill to possess in this rapidly changing world, creativity and innovation skills are not emphasized enough in our school systems (if at all). There has been so much talk recently on Carol Dweck's "Growth Mindset" and the fact that we all have the ability to improve if we are willing to put forth the effort. Still, many people believe that "creativity" is not one of the those things we can improve at. Most people believe that you are either born creative, or you are not. This is simply NOT TRUE!!!
Michael Michalko is a brilliant author and creativity guru. In this book, Thinkertoys, Michalko provides a plethora of thought provoking stories, activities, and strategies that will instantly make you more creative, open-minded, innovative, and a believer that the growth mindset also applies to this topic. This book is an absolute masterpiece..... and it is my dream that the work of Michalko will make its way into the schools more and help to inspire students to be creative and innovative. Students deserve this! In the meantime I will provide a call to action that I promise will benefit you: BUY THIS BOOK! Read every page and apply the concepts to your life and passions. I guarantee it will make you a more creative, more well-rounded, more innovative person.
I am often asked what my favorite book is, which is a question that I do not like. I do not like it because I do not have a favorite book. I have a list of favorite books. The problem is that I feel at different stages of my life, that this list changes based on what my goals and passions are. Thinkertoys, however, has always been on my list of "favorite books". To take the experience to the next level, I recommend purchasing the related ThinkPak deck to go along with it. I have this deck on me everywhere I go and have used its power many times to help solve problems and generate new ideas.
This book is an absolute gem....and I wish that everyone in the world would have the opportunity to read it (along with Michalko's other books which are also wonderful: Creative Thinkering and Cracking Creativity). Buy this book and read it. Then read it again....and again....and again. It gets better every time!